29 March 2016

Through A Sea Of Molasses

If you commute by bicycle, you know that sometimes your ride home can feel very different from your ride to work.

Sometimes you're happy to get out and get on your bike at the end of your work day, especially if you have a couple of hours of daylight.  Then, your ride home might seem easier and go more quickly than the ride to your job.  You might even take a longer route, or a side trip, as you head home.

Then there are other days when the ride back seems longer and more tired because, well, you're tired.  You mght have had a stressful, or simply long, workday.  I know that when I have early morning classes, conferences with students and a meeting or two--or any unforeseen situation--the ride back might take me a few minutes longer, especially if I'm pedaling in the dark, in the dead of winter.

But yesterday, I felt as if I'd been pedaling through a sea of molasses for my ride home.  That sensation began with my first pedal stroke.  Even mounting my bike seemed more arduous than it did in the morning.

Mind you, I didn't have a tough day at work.   Things went well, actually:  Students were prepared and engaged.  So was I.  Exchanges with colleagues and office staff were pleasant.  Heck, I even stayed a bit longer to get a few things done--and write yesterday's post on a computer at my job.

By the time I got home, though, I felt as if I'd pedaled up every major climb in the Rockies, Alps, Appalachians and Pyrenees, and maybe one or two other mountain ranges.  Those eleven kilometers or so felt like a Tour de France stage--one that combined the mountains with a sprint.

Well, today I realize that I wasn't as out of shape as I feared I was.  My sinuses were spewing more than Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna, and what it was spewing probably would have qualified my respiratory system as a Superfund site.  And, instead of eating pasta or noodles, my body has the lateral rigidity (sorry for the bikespeak!) of those foods--when they're overcooked.

So today I didn't go to work--or ride for any other reason.  It's odd that I managed not to be sick all winter, and the first week of Spring brought me to this.  Oh, well. It's temporary--I hope.  At least I'm not hurt. 


  1. Alas, this sort of thing often hits in the spring.

    The throat feels like the surface of a rocky road, sneezes come with the unexpectedness and intensity of earthquakes, we feel that the very bedrock of our soul is crumbing, eroding away. But fear not: volcanic sinuses will soon regain their old dormancy, our old state of health, solid as granite, will return.

    Sorry: just trying to continue your geological imagery...

    Get well soon.


  2. Leo.. You kept it up better than I could have!

  3. There was one stretch of my old commute home that was always a struggle to ride. There was about a 2 block long slight rise that at times felt almost insurmountable- always left me feeling a bit like you described. Maybe it was just the time of day, but... i don't miss that commute.

    Rick Smith drew a Yehuda Moon comic that mentioned this phenomenon and termed it the "Commuter Triangle." i kept a print of it on my locker at work.

    Hope your waterfall sinuses are drying out!

  4. Mike--I saw that comic. Thanks for reminding me of it!